150,000 airline seats involved in another Japanese recall

More bad news for Japanese companies today, as Yokohama based Koito Industries admitted to falsifying test results from its line of airplane seats.

According to the Japanese transportation ministry, the entire testing department at Koito was involved in the scandal, and it may have been going on since the mid 90’s.

During the investigation, officials discovered that Koito skipped entire tests, and used data from past tests instead. In addition to this, they manipulated computer screens so they would show false figures during tests observed by the government.

The false information can have potentially catastrophic results – results of fire resistance and strength were falsified on as many as 150,000 seats installed on planes from 32 airlines.

According to the Koito site, they sold seats to airlines like Continental, JAL, ANA, KLM, Singapore, Virgin Atlantic and SAS. Whether those airlines actually received seats involved in this recall is unknown.

Of course, the timing of this recall is terrible for the Japanese – as they are in the middle of their embarrassing admission of how Toyota handled their safety issues. Make no mistake – 150,000 airline seats in need of potential improvements could turn into a major problem for those airlines involved, especially if the recall means seats need to be replaced.

As of right now, there is apparently “no cause for concern” – the Japanese transportation ministry has approved the continued use of the seats after consulting the Federal Aviation Administration.

Update: Initially, this article had listed Air Canada as a current user of Koito seats (based off information from the Koito site). The airline contacted us to let us know that they removed all Koito seats in 2008. None of the seats in the Air Canada fleet are currently from the troubled Japanese company. Thanks to Air Canada for that correction.

Public service announcement: stop using your iPhone 3G charger!

Our friends at Engadget are reporting on a potentially dangerous situation with the charger included with the iPhone 3G. Apparently the prongs on the tiny Apple USB charger are prone to staying in your outlet when you unplug it, creating the kind of situation you’d rather avoid.

Apple.com has all the information you need, including where you can order a new charger. The replacements will be shipped out starting October 10th, which is also the date you’ll be able to walk into the local Apple store and leave with the new version. The defective charger was only included with the iPhone sold in the US, Mexico, Canada, Japan and various Latin American countries.

Apple strongly suggests that you cease using the charger, and simply use the included USB cable to charge your phone using your computer. Alternatively, you can use the previous generation charger (with the folding prongs) or almost any other generic USB charger.

Stay safe, and if you do happen to run into the problem described, be sure to disconnect the power before even thinking of trying to recover the broken prong from your outlet!